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Prof John Parnavelas
Department of Anatomy & Developmental Biology, UCL
Gower Street
Prof John Parnavelas profile picture
  • Emeritus Professor of Neuroanatomy
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
  • Emeritus Professorial Research Fellow
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

Work in our laboratory has, for many years, focused on the origin and migration of the neurons that make up the mammalian cerebral cortex. Two broad classes of neurons have been identified in the cortex: the excitatory pyramidal neurons and the inhibitory interneurons. Pyramidal cells are derived from the neuroepithelium of the cortical ventricular zone, whereas interneurons arise in the ganglionic eminence of the ventral telencephalon. Earlier studies identified the origin of interneurons and described their tortuous migratory routes into the developing cortex. Our current studies focus on the cell and molecular mechanisms that underlie each step of their journey.

Even though most of our efforts focus on interneuron migration in the cortex, we are also exploring the molecular mechanisms that guide the migration of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons from their origin in the olfactory placode to the hypothalamus. The significance of our research programme lies with the opportunity to understand the mechanisms involved in neuronal migration in the brain and to shed light in the aetiologies of some of the migration disorders in humans.

Finally, we are exploring the role(s) of molecules involved in forebrain neuron migration (e.g., Robo receptors) in the development of the innervations of the heart.

Academic Background
1975   Doctor of Philosophy University of Rochester, New York
1973   Master of Science University of California - Irvine
1970   Master of Science University of Southern California
1968   Bachelor of Science University of California at Los Angeles
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